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Cantharis pellucida Fabricius, 1792







POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886


CANTHARIDAE Imhoff, 1856

CANTHARINAE Imhoff, 1856

CANTHARINI Imhoff, 1856

Cantharis Linnaeus, 1758

Generally common throughout Central and Northern Europe, this species is distributed from Italy north to central Fennoscandia and the UK and extends east into Siberia; it is mostly a lowland species but occurs sporadically to the tree-line in mountain areas. In the UK it is common across England and Wales and more local and sporadic further north into Central Scotland and across Ireland. Adults appear towards the end of April and are active until July or August, they are diurnal and fly well, often visiting flowers and blossom where they feed on pollen and nectar and predate small insects. Typical habitats are open woodland and wooded borders, meadows and agricultural margins but they are very active and may disperse widely on warm sunny days and so sometimes appear in parks and domestic gardens and may be common in urban waste ground. Mating commences in the spring following a period of feeding and continues through the season. Females oviposit among litter or in the soil and larvae appear from June. The larvae are predacious on small insects and their early stages and readily attack small terrestrial molluscs; they develop through the summer and autumn and remain active during all but the coldest spells in the winter. Pupation occurs in an underground cell in early spring and adults emerge on warm days in April. Adults usually occur in numbers and are easily observed as they feed on umbel flowers, they often occur among samples when beating hawthorn etc. and in cooler weather may be swept from grassland or shrubby or herbaceous foliage. Larvae are typical of the family, elongate, flattened and covered with velvety pubescence, they sometimes occur in extraction samples of moss and litter etc. but are very difficult to identify to species, on the other hand they are easily reared and so can thus be determined.

The large size, 10-13.5 mm, and general colour will identify this species. Body finely pubescent throughout, head bicoloured; orange anteriorly and black above, pronotum orange without dark marks, elytra black or dark grey, abdomen entirely orange, antennae dark with several pale basal segments. Front legs entirely orange or with the tibiae and tarsi obscurely darkened, Middle and hind femora orange, tibiae variable from entirely orange to extensively dark grey with only the base narrowly pale, tarsi orange but usually at least to some extent darkened. Among our UK fauna, similar to C. nigricans (Müller, O.F., 1776) but here the abdomen and hind femoral apices are extensively darkened. Distinguished from species of Rhagonycha by the bilobed third meso- and metatarsomere and the anterior claw on all legs having a strong tooth at the base.

Cantharis pellucida 1

Cantharis pellucida 1

Cantharis pellucida 2

Cantharis pellucida 2

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